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Friday, June 9 • 2:45pm - 3:30pm
Marginalia Making: Critical Care as Critical Making Workshop Series at NCSU

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We are Marginalia Making, a group of undergraduate and graduate students in Communication at North Carolina State University, facilitated by a faculty member at the Department of Communication. We are strong believers in making with and tinkering technologies as a way to actionize critical technical literacy in ways that also acknowledge the intersectional implications of technological innovation. We are implementing critical making workshops as a strategy for serious play, critical reflection, and social intervention to further critical technology literacy, cultivate embodied intersectional making practices, and engage with social justice design among underserved student populations enrolled in community colleges that are part of the Community College Collaboration (C3) at NC State, as well as first generation college students and any student in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences who is interested in developing technology literacy invested in values of social justice and equity.

We are reframing technical literacy and critical thinking through a framework of care to imagine, engage and reconstruct technological imaginaries that are more inclusive and equitable. We expect that the offering of the workshops will develop participants’ critical technological literacy by inviting them to engage with various types of technologies, and experiment with how these technocultural artifacts can be rearranged to materialize more just and equitable expressions of humankind(ness). Also, we will assess how critical making, reframed as an approach oriented towards community care, may advance justice-oriented making, and social well-being.

There is a common belief that the epistemological, methodological and validity differences between Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences render the latter as the one legitimate way to do science in detriment of the first. Interdisciplinary collaborations amongst these areas is believed to only be possible when Humanities and Social Sciences (soft science) are catering to Natural Sciences (hard science). As members of North Carolina State University, a STEM-oriented land grant university, we have identified a need for other ways of understanding technology, and have worked to create a program that emphasizes making-with-technologies to promote critical technological literacy, utilizing intersectional creativity, and cultivating community-oriented care to demonstrate the role of the Humanities and Social Sciences via workshops that apply a framework that reorients critical making towards more intersectional, social justice, and care-oriented making practices.

As our workshops aim to address the gaps in offerings for underserved on campus communities, we have structured them so that there are options both in person and synchronous/asynchronous online. The workshops are currently in development and prototyping stages. Online workshops include: “Coding by hand”, a workshop on bracelet making that articulates morse code with indigenous craft making, “Stickers and the art of protest”, a workshop on digital illustration that articulates with discussions of rights to the city and urban arts, “Sneaker Hang Tags”, a workshop that articulates black identity making through sneaker culture, and “Mail Chain”: a workshop that invites the participant to create an illustration, interfere on other participant’s work, and exchange illustrations to promote a growing chain of collaborative creativity, among others.

All workshops adopt the Learning for Social Justice Standards proposed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (2018) as a metric for teaching and learning through principles of social justice and equity. These standards are rooted in four key anchors, namely: Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action and are being used to guide both workshop curricular development as well as outcome assessment. Workshops’ assessment includes participants’ survey after workshop completion, and interviews to take place in late Spring 2023.

Marginalia Making is committed to a critical engagement with technologies that insists on making room for intersectional experiences and forms of care. Such distinction is put into practice when we define what counts as knowledge, what counts as technical literacy and technology, what counts as making. This initiative puts in practice an intersectional, justice-oriented approach to making that pays attention to embodied narratives: what makers experience out-side of institutions, the pressures they exist within, the places they are kept out of, and the practices they find familiar and safe (Harwood, 2019). When we create spaces for critical making to enact critical care, we interrogate what we are relegating to the margins and what we are centering. We create opportunities for more time to linger in experience, to play, to focus on the personal and relational parts of our scholarship and restorative creations (Stone, 2018), and to forge relationships with others like and unlike us.

For HASTAC 2023, we would like to give an online panel to share a detailed account of the elements that make up the workshops and community response to workshops that have been offered thus far. We will highlight the ways in which the breaking up of academic space with workshops has the potential to be used as a form of intervention into STEM focused institutional logic that erases care and delimits the status of the Humanities and Social Sciences in technology centered practices, and that this model can be a valuable tool for educators who are interested in subverting the mandate to produce work deemed functional in STEM by asserting critical making as a way to build intersectional, social justice, community care oriented making practices.

avatar for Kelsey Dufresne

Kelsey Dufresne

PhD student, North Carolina State University
My background is rooted in English education – specifically for secondary edu – and English literature with a focus in 20th century American poetry and digital humanities. I am extremely passionate about community, education, and accessibility. With that, I enjoy (and hope to... Read More →

Fernanda Duarte

North Carolina State University, United States of America

Maurika Smutherman

North Carolina State University, United States of America

Chloe Higginbotham

PhD Candidate, North Carolina State University

Friday June 9, 2023 2:45pm - 3:30pm EDT